Where to Stay in Algarve, Portugal
The Allure of Algarve
Living in the Algarve for five years has been an enriching experience. This 4,997 km squared region along the Southern and Western coasts of Portugal is a treasure trove of breathtaking landscapes, from expansive white sand beaches to secluded coves embraced by golden cliffs.
Deciding Where to Stay
With its diverse towns and areas, choosing where to stay in the Algarve can be a delightful challenge. Each locale boasts its unique charm, catering to different types of travelers. Whether you seek a tranquil beach retreat or vibrant nightlife, selecting the right spot is crucial to enhancing your Algarve experience.
Your Ultimate Algarve Accommodation Guide
If you’re in search of advice on the best places to stay in the Algarve in May, you’re in the right place. This comprehensive Algarve accommodation guide outlines every area, providing insights into their distinctive vibes and suitability for various travelers. From budget-friendly options to luxurious retreats, this guide ensures there’s something for everyone, whether you’re into surfing adventures or family getaways.
Exploring the Best Areas
Let’s dive into the highlights of the top areas in the Algarve, tailored to different travel styles and budgets:
Sagres: Surfing Haven
If surfing is your passion, Sagres is your haven. This small town exudes a laid-back atmosphere, boasting charming bars and restaurants. Its proximity to the best surf beaches makes it an ideal choice for surf enthusiasts.
Lagos: Gateway for First-Timers
Lagos is the perfect base for first-timers, strategically located near all major attractions in the Algarve. Its convenience makes it an excellent starting point for exploration.
Albufeira: Party Central
For those seeking a vibrant nightlife, Albufeira is the go-to destination. With affordable hostels, lively bars, and diverse restaurants, it’s the ultimate party town in the Algarve.
Faro: Capital Charms
As the capital and largest city, Faro offers a lively city vibe and easy access to numerous attractions. It’s a perfect blend of urban energy and Algarvian charm.
Tavira: Medieval Tranquility
Tavira, a small medieval town, presents a serene ambiance with its historic center and beautiful beaches. It’s an ideal retreat for a relaxed beach holiday.
Quarteira: Romantic Retreat
Quarteira, with its romantic charm, quaint beaches, and laid-back atmosphere, is tailor-made for couples seeking a romantic getaway.
Carvoeiro: Family-Friendly Haven
For a perfect family beach holiday, Carvoeiro is the answer. Boasting a beautiful beach, proximity to attractions, ample amenities, and a friendly atmosphere, it caters to families of all sizes.
Portimao: Beach Bliss and Trendy Shopping
If you crave a blend of beach bliss and trendy shopping, Portimao is your destination of choice. This town offers the perfect fusion of sun, sea, and stylish retail therapy.
Sagres – Best Area to Stay in Algarve for a Surf Holiday
Wondering about an Algarve itinerary that includes surfing? Sagres, with its proximity to numerous surf spots and stunning beaches, is the ideal spot for surf enthusiasts.
The town’s laid-back atmosphere, charming bars, and local artisan shops add to the appeal. Scenic beaches with towering cliffs make Sagres a picturesque destination for surfers, offering unforgettable experiences like Praia de Mareta and the dramatic Cabo de Sao Vicente lighthouse, a perfect sunset spot.
Surfing gear is easily accessible at the main beaches, catering to both novice and expert surfers.
Budget: The Lighthouse Hostel
I spent two nights at The Lighthouse Hostel. With a vibrant communal area and fantastic garden and pool views, it’s perfect for those seeking a relaxed and youthful vibe.
Mid-Range: Pousada de Sagres
This charming hotel, just a 5-minute walk from the beach, offers delightful views of Cabo de São Vicente Lighthouse and Sagres Fortress, making it a great choice for mature couples or surf enthusiasts.
Luxury: Martinhal Sagres Beach Resort
Catering to families and providing blissful getaways, this resort offers accommodation options for singles and couples. Located near stunning beaches, it’s an excellent choice with ample opportunities for surf lessons.
Lagos – Best Places to Stay in Algarve for First-Timers
If you’re a first-time visitor to the Algarve and wondering where to stay, Lagos is an ideal choice. Boasting iconic beaches, a rich heritage, and excellent tourist facilities, Lagos warmly welcomes first-time travelers.
The town’s cobbled streets, white houses, and a plethora of bars and restaurants create a character-filled ambiance. Lagos offers all necessary amenities and strategic proximity to the Algarve’s famous beaches and attractions.
While the heavy tourist presence is notable, authentic Portuguese experiences are just a day trip away to places like Olhao or Tavira.
Budget: TopCity Hostel and Suites
Staying at TopCity Hostel and Suites, I enjoyed cool rooftop and pool views. It’s ideal for younger travelers seeking a vibrant party atmosphere.
Mid-Range: Villas D. Dinis
This adults-only guest house near the beach, Lagos Castle, and other attractions provides private patios, exotic gardens, and a swimming pool for a comfortable stay.
Luxury: Palmares Beach House Hotel
Perfect for first-time travelers or those seeking a hassle-free vacation, Palmares Beach House Hotel offers Mediterranean cuisine and a serene environment near gorgeous areas.
Albufeira – Best Places to Stay in Algarve, Portugal for Nightlife
For a lively night out and an energetic coastal atmosphere, Albufeira is the top choice. Whether experiencing nightlife or strolling along the promenade and sandy beaches, this coastal city offers a joyous time.
Characterized by its old town on the hill and a modern strip by the sea, Albufeira provides a perfect blend of history and vibrant nightlife.
Here are some suggestions for fun places to stay in Albufeira for every budget.
Budget: Sunfield Guest House
I recommend Sunfield Guest House for a night of dancing, with a free shuttle service to attractions and proximity to The Strip and Albufeira shopping center.
Mid-Range: Vila Recife Hotel
Enjoy a convenient stay at Vila Recife Hotel, featuring a games room, garden-side bar, and pool area. The friendly staff helps with arrangements to explore the town safely.
Luxury: Epic Sana Algarve Hotel
Nestled on the beachfront, Epic Sana Algarve Hotel offers elegant decor, spacious rooms, and stunning views. Enjoy the spa, pools, restaurants, and more, right on the shores of Falésia Beach.
Faro – Best Place to Stay in Algarve for City Life
In the Algarve region, Faro stands out as the perfect spot for city living. With its exceptional character, colorful streets, and cobblestone paths, Faro captures the heart with its unique charm.
Despite not being as large as Lisbon or Porto, Faro offers a strong city vibe and easy access to beautiful beaches and natural attractions.
For sandy beaches and unique attractions like the Capela Dos Ossos or the Ilha Deserta, Faro is the go-to place.
Based on my experience, Hostellicious is a top pick for budget travelers. While it can get loud, it’s perfect for the young, spirited traveler.
Mid-Range: Sunlight House
Stay at Sunlight House for amazing terrace views, bright decor, and various room and restaurant options. Socialize in the living room or indulge in activities available in the surrounding area.
Luxury: AP Eva Senses
This luxury hotel in the city center, AP Eva Senses, offers spacious rooms and ultimate relaxation with a spa and balcony overlooking Ria Formosa Natural Park.
Tavira – Best Areas to Stay, Algarve, Portugal, for a Quiet Beach Holiday
Tavira is a haven for tranquility in the Algarve. With its pristine beaches, historic churches, and the serene Gilão River, Tavira offers a peaceful escape.
Less crowded than other parts of the Algarve, Tavira provides a spectacularly serene stay. Enjoy the beach or explore cultural attractions, surrounded by the charm of Portuguese white houses and cobbled
Budget: Bea’s Bed & Breakfast
For a quiet holiday, Bea’s Bed & Breakfast offers uniquely decorated rooms with earthy tones, fully equipped for a peaceful stay just a few kilometers from the beach.
Mid-Range: Quintinha da Foz Guest House
This elegant guest house, perfect for solo travelers or couples, is pet-friendly and within walking distance of the city center, beaches, and natural attractions.
Luxury: AP Maria Nova Lounge
Discover the stunning luxury lodging of AP Maria Nova Lounge, situated in the quiet hillside, featuring modern rooms with exclusive balconies for a luxurious stay.
Quarteira – Best Place to Stay in Algarve, Portugal for Couples
Quarteira, a popular resort town in the greater Algarve region, offers a perfect setting for couples seeking an authentic Portuguese experience. Beyond the peak season, this locale attracts travelers with its tranquil European winter sun experience.
The town’s popularity ensures reasonable prices, and its abundance of great restaurants, boat tours, and dolphin watching activities make it an ideal spot for a romantic getaway.
Budget: Hostel Conii & Suites Algarve
Perfect for budget-conscious couples who enjoy activities like golfing or bike rides, this hostel offers a vibrant atmosphere and is an excellent base for exploration.
Mid-Range: Zodiaco Hotel
With its brightly colored ambiance, outdoor pool, and proximity to the beach, Zodiaco Hotel is a great choice for couples seeking horse-riding, refreshing drinks, and delicious local cuisine.
Luxury: Dom Jose Beach Hotel
For a luxurious experience, Dom Jose Beach Hotel stands out with a private beach, massage services, and breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, making it ideal for special moments with your significant other.
Carvoeiro – Best Place in Algarve, Portugal, for Families
Carvoeiro, known for its stunning beaches and serene ambiance, is a perfect destination for families. The iconic white houses perched above the beach contribute to making it one of the prettiest towns in Portugal.
This town offers a blend of calming beach holidays and exciting activities for kids, including hiking trails, boat tours, and theme parks. Families can explore famous attractions like the Benagil cave and enjoy the beautiful Praia do Carvoeiro beach.
Budget: Pestana Palm Gardens
Fully furnished townhouses with warm decor make Pestana Palm Gardens an excellent choice for families. It offers tennis courts, sports, and two swimming pools for added enjoyment.
Mid-Range: Monte Santo Resort
Perfect for bigger families, Monte Santo Resort provides secluded areas, private security, and a Kids’ Club for entertainment, allowing parents to enjoy a stress-free massage.
Luxury: Tivoli Carvoeiro
For energetic families, Tivoli Carvoeiro, a 5-star hotel with views of Vale Covo, offers professional childminders and a range of activities, making it a perfect fit for a family vacation.
Portimao – Best Place in Algarve for Shopping
Portimao, known for its popular beach Praia da Rocha, also boasts beautiful architecture and a rich history. The city is a shopper’s paradise with numerous markets and shops lining its streets, offering a fantastic retail experience.
While enjoying the iconic beach holiday, visitors can indulge in shopping sprees and savor freshly caught fish from the local markets.
Budget: Algarve Race Resort
For those seeking a unique shopping experience, Algarve Race Resort, located outside the city center, offers comfortable self-catering apartments and is close to international circuits in Portimao.
Mid-Range: Morgado Golf and Country Club
Combine shopping with golf at Morgado Golf and Country Club, surrounded by golf courses, outdoor pools, and a breakfast buffet, providing an entertaining stay.
Luxury: Bela Vista Hotel & Spa – Relais & Chateaux
Indulge in a shopping spree and relaxation at Bela Vista Hotel & Spa, a 5-star boutique hotel with al fresco dining, traditional Algarve food, and stunning views of Praia da Rocha.
Final Thoughts on where to stay in Algarve, Portugal
There you have it, the ultimate guide on where to stay in the Algarve, Portugal! Have you stayed in a different area or town of the Algarve? How did you find it? Share your experiences in the comments below!
Having spent a significant part of my Portugal itinerary in the Algarve, I personally stayed at and visited all the beautiful towns and accommodations I recommended.